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Bouton American Sentiments Toward China


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Bouton American Sentiments Toward China

  1. 1. PRESENTATION PREPARED FOR National Chinese Language Conference May 1, 2009 “What Americans Think About China”
  2. 2. What do Americans Think About China? • How is the American public responding to the rise of China? • How do Americans assess China’s influence in world affairs? • Do they see China’s increasing economic and military power as a positive or negative development? • Is China’s rise a threat to the United States? And if so, how should Americans respond? May 1, 2009 2
  3. 3. Chicago Council Public Opinion Studies • Data drawn from three different Chicago Council public opinion surveys conducted during 2006-2008 • All surveys based on nationally representative random samples of approximately 1,000 American adults • Full reports and access to data available on The Chicago Council website, May 1, 2009 3
  4. 4. Americans See China as Influential in the World On a scale of 1-10, China gets the 3rd highest influence score among the countries mentioned Country Mean Influence Score United States 8.5 Great Britain 6.7 China 6.4 Japan 6.4 EU 6.0 Russia 5.6 Germany 5.5 France 4.9 India 4.8 May 1, 2009 4
  5. 5. China Seen as Having More Economic Influence in Asia than United States or Japan • China’s economic growth has made it the engine of the Asian economy, replacing Japan in only 20 years Country Mean Score for Economic Influence in Asia China 7.5 Japan 7.3 United States 7.0 May 1, 2009 5
  6. 6. Americans Think China Will Lead Asia… But Are Uncomfortable with That Prospect • 68% of Americans agree that China will be the future leader of Asia • But 71% of those who agree, say they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with the idea of China being the leader of Asia May 1, 2009 6
  7. 7. Americans See China as Very Important to the United States China ranks third among 18 countries mentioned – after only Great Britain and Canada Country Percent who said “very important” to the United States Great Britain 60% Canada 53% China 52% Japan 45% Saudi Arabia 44% Israel 40% Mexico 37% Russia 34% Iran 32% Pakistan 30% May 1, 2009 7
  8. 8. But Overall, Americans Have “Cool” Feelings Toward China May 1, 2009 8
  9. 9. And Those Feelings Have Grown Cooler in Recent Years May 1, 2009 9
  10. 10. Americans Are Aware of China’s Economic Growth… But Deeply Ambivalent about its Impact • 76% of Americans agree that China’s economy will someday be as large as that of the United States • A bare majority of 51% think that China’s economy becoming as large as that of the US would be an “equally positive and negative” development, and 42% think it would be “mostly negative” • When asked whether China’s becoming “significantly more powerful economically than it is today” would be mainly positive or mainly negative, 47% said mainly positive, and 46% said mainly negative • 67% of Americans think China “practices unfair trade,” up from 53% in 2002 May 1, 2009 10
  11. 11. Americans Are Concerned about Rise of China as Military Power • When asked whether China’s becoming “significantly more powerful militarily than it is today” would be mainly positive or mainly negative, 76% say mainly negative, and only 19% say mainly positive • 71% say they are somewhat worried (46%) or very worried (25%) about the China becoming a military threat to the United States in the future May 1, 2009 11
  12. 12. Americans Perceive Complex and Evolving Relationship with China • 40% of Americans agree that “the development of China as a world power” is a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States, up from 33% in 2004, but down from the high of 57% in the mid and late 1990s • 49% of the American public agree that China and the U.S. are “mostly rivals,” while 41% say “mostly partners” • But a strong majority of Americans (64%) believe that in dealing with the rise of China’s power, the U.S. should “undertake friendly cooperation and engagement” rather than “actively work to limit the growth of China’s power” May 1, 2009 12
  13. 13. But Are Americans Preparing to Deal with China’s Rise?? • Only 11% of Americans say it is very important for children to learn Chinese • In contrast, 82% of Chinese say it is very important for children to learn English May 1, 2009 13